Sunday, October 21, 2007

Virgin Broadband I - Value assessment in action


My Phd thesis results are in Draft 2, and will be released here shortly.

But, the technology I am studying 3G, I bought into last week Thursday. My wife picked up a Virgin Broadband 3G modem, to replace our home phone and give us 4Gb of broadband. This is our experience.

Product/Service: Virgin 3G $60 - all local and STD calls (not mobile), 4Gb broadband at 500k speed download, 300k upload, shaped to 128k thereafter. Includes wireless modem. No installation costs. 24 month contract. 30 day trial period, without contract. (www.virginbroadband.com.au)

The good.
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1. Phone works fine. New number.
2. VBB gave us a free mobile sim, so we can call that mobile for free. Inserted into my phone and tested the phone no problems. Rang our family to let them know our new temporary number.
3. Left our old landline plugged into the answerphone. Have been getting calls there but no messages. I think it is screening sales calls. YAY!
4. Day 2 - Broadband worked fine on LAN. Downloaded 100Mb. No wireless set up yet.
5. Modem remembers all our calls.
6. Website where Virgin users talk about their experiences and help each other fix things. A Virgin rep is there too, gives his email out and fixes things. Might have to sign up.
7. This is a 30 day trial, so $60 for one month is low risk if completely bad.

The bad.
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1. Logging in on Day 1 - web page got stuck validating the sign in. It was only the email address, and I agree. How hard can that be.
Rang the helpline. No answer after 15 minutes- gave up. Emailed helpdesk.
2. Day 2 - Couldn't get wireless to work.
3. Day 2 - About 5pm Friday. Broadband stopped working, and for the rest of the weekend couldn't get it to connect. BOO!
4. Spent nearly an hour waiting for helpdesk to answer the phone. Gave up around an hour.
5. Stopped into Virgin shop, and guy said we are just sales. Call helpdesk. But might be too many people using broadband.
6. The manual says my mac needs 10.4 whereas the brochure says only MACOSX.
7. The manual only gives setup for MAC airport, not my USB wireless modem. Might have to ring the DLINK helpdesk.

The ugly
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1. No broadband from Fri 5pm to Mon. Only offpeak access ie during the day.
2. Can see wireless network, but can't get to internet through it. Complicated by no broadband.

Solutions
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1. Need faster access to helpdesk. An hour with no answer is too long to wait.
2. If outages, need to know about it eg text my free mobile.
3. Need troubleshooting guide. This can go wrong, and this fixes it.
4. Needs to work. A full network is no good. Need compensation when service not provided.
5. Maybe provide dialup as backup

Stay tuned as the story unfolds.
Richard